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Rock 'n Rail,
This review is from: Festival Express [DVD] (DVD)
'Woodstock was a treat for the audience, the train was a treat for the performers' was how one passenger described this week long event staged in 1970. Some of the biggest names in rock travelled across Canada by train with the occasional festival interrupting the revelries; it was one of those crazy, off the wall ventures that could never happen today.
Using recently unearthed footage this film follows its ups & downs: along the way we see radicals protesting about ticket prices, a drunken Jerry Garcia declaring his undying love for Janis Joplin, the passengers buying the entire contents of a liquor store, and everyone generally having the time of their lives.
Musically, The Band and Grateful Dead are in great form but it's Janis who steals the show, singing "Cry Baby" as if her life depended on it - she could teach the Mariah Careys of this world a thing or two about singing from the heart. The picture quality is astonishing considering it was kept in someone's garage for thirty years.
When the train hit the buffers at Calgary it was not just the end of the journey but an era as well. In the 1970s big business sank its claws into Rock and freewheeling events like this gave way to soulless stadium tours with bands being ferried around in private jets and limos. This film is a wonderful snapshot of a more naive and innocent time.